Hats Off to TV's Groundbreaking Female Characters

I saw Marlo Thomas promoting her new book Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny on The Today Show recently. Thomas tells her own story of how comedy has played an important role in her life and the lives of other notable comedians. I love her 60s sitcom That Girl. It is one of my favorite TV shows. Her character, Ann Marie, was groundbreaking for women. Ann Marie was an aspiring actress who moved to New York City alone to pursue her career. Sounds like many of the protagonists in chick lit, doesn’t it? A single girl trying to make it on her own in the city and succeed in her career while dating. One of my favorite episodes is called "Anatomy of a Blunder." In this episode, Ann and her boyfriend, Donald, set out to visit her parents where Donald will meet them for the first time. One their way there, so many things go wrong for Donald. They have the audience wondering whether or not they will even make it to her parents’ house. This episode reminds me so much of the novels in this genre. Ann Marie is free-spirited and optimistic while Donald is more rational and practical. In this particular episode, the roles are reversed from what was usually seen on television at that time and it was Donald who needed Ann’s help. Ann had to come to his rescue. During the last season, Ann and Donald got engaged but the series did not end with their wedding. This was done on purpose to show girls that marriage might not be the goal for every woman, which is okay. Ann and Donald make a great duo, like many of the couples in chick lit. Usually, to form a great comedic couple on screen or in novels, there are distinct differences in personality that make both characters necessary to balance each other out and be the catalysts for humorous situations. Another single-in-the-city-working-woman was shown in the 70s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. It was also a groundbreaking show (and another one of my favorites) that followed the life of Mary Richards, an independent career woman in her thirties who had never been married. Mary dates during the series but remains single. Both of these sitcoms were and still are empowering for women. I think we should thank sitcoms like That Girl and The Mary Tyler Moore Show for paving the way and showing everyone that it is okay to be an independent woman. They broke the mold and portrayed a different kind of female character than what was traditional. These characters and the actresses who played them are inspiring to so many people. They didn't tell everyone what women should and shouldn't do but, instead, they showed us that women have options. 

What other classic TV shows showed women in non-traditional roles? What other shows, films, and/or books have been groundbreaking for women?